Studies have shown that aromatherapy may have benefits including stress relief and improving relaxation. It may also help improve sleep quality and support overall health and well being. The best kind of aromatherapy uses natural oils that are taken from flowers, fruit, and almost all parts of a plant.

They are made to work with the body’s natural systems and responses. Synthetic oils are not nearly as effective because the beneficial parts of natural oils are often very difficult if not impossible to reproduce. Some oils contain ingredients that simply don’t exist naturally anywhere else.

Getting started with essential oils is not difficult, but there are some things you need to know to ensure you use them safely and get the maximum benefits from them. Let’s take a look at the basics in this essential oils guide.

History

Essential oils may seem like a new thing, but they have been used around the world for many thousands of years for both health and religious purposes. Aromatherapy itself is centuries old. Both are important parts of the holistic healing system, which also include things like acupuncture, clay and mud wraps, herbs, and massage,

Buying Oils

While essential oils can seemingly be purchased anywhere and everywhere these days, be sure to purchase yours from a reputable, trustworthy source. Research before you buy to ensure you get pure, safe oils. If a place selling oils makes outlandish claims that sound too good to be true, they most certainly are and should be avoided. Essential oils are a part of holistic health care team; they are not intended to be miracle cures.

Using Oils

Many people use essential oils in a diffuser that works much like a humidifier. Do so with care though, especially if you have pets. Some essential oils can make them sick. Never ingest or inhale the oils, but some can be rubbed on the skin as part of a massage.

Not all can, and most should be blended with a carrier oil such as mineral or coconut, or lotion to avoid skin irritation. Do not use essential oils in food as they are not meant to be ingested.  Do not use essential oils on your children without a doctor’s supervision, and keep them out of their reach.

Many people prefer oil blends rather than straight oils. They can be blended with carrier oils, lotions, soaps, and shower gels. They can also be mixed with sea salt for an excellent exfoliator. Blending essential oils makes them even more useful.

You can add them to your favorite laundry detergent for freshness or to a carrier oil to make you own customized air freshener. Eucalyptus and peppermint oil can be mixed into an unscented body lotion to make a soothing chest rub for colds.

This is also said to work well for migraines. Many oils are also very effective insect repellents.  Here’s a list of essential oils featuring the most popular ones:

  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Eucalyptus
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Tea Tree

Essential Oils for Hair & Skin Care

There are many essential oil uses for healthy skin and hair. Before you try any, please test a small area first to check for any sensitivities and if you have sensitive skin, check with your doctor or dermatologist first. Here are the most popular ways to incorporate essential oils into your skin care regimen:

For hair, add 2-4 drops of lavender or rosemary oil to your shampoo and shake well. Lavender will help relieve stress and rosemary can improve volume and contribute to scalp health by increasing blood flow.

For skin, try adding two drops of rosemary oil to your favorite cream or lotion. Rosemary contains antioxidants and supports healthy circulation. You can also add five to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to 6 ounces of water and shake well for a homemade body spray. Do not apply to your face and avoid citrus oils which can make your skin photosensitive, meaning it is more likely to burn in the sun.

To make a customized body oil, add three to five drops of your favorite essential oil to a carrier oil such as almond, wheat germ, mineral or coconut. For a relaxing bath, you can add up to six drops, but stick to botanicals like lavender and rose, and avoid cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass and other food-related oils as they can irritate your skin.

For an easy hair mask gently warm a cup of olive oil and add a few drops of lavender or rosemary oil. Massage thoroughly and evenly into your hair and scalp, wrap a towel around your head, and let it soak in for 20-30 minutes, then shampoo and condition.

Oils for Your Home

For your home, lavender oil is one you won’t want to be without. Not only can it sooth anxiety and stress and improve sleep quality, but a few drops on a cotton ball will repel moths and mosquitoes.

Eucalyptus is also excellent for freshening your home, and lemon oil is a good choice as well. Eucalyptus may be especially helpful in the winter months when dry heated air does a number on throats and sinuses. Adding Eucalyptus oil to your diffuser or humidifier can be very soothing and help make breathing easier.

To clean and freshen carpets, mix your favorite essential oil with some cornstarch or baking soda, sprinkle liberally over your carpet, let sit a few minutes and then vacuum up. You can also add this your laundry or make sachets to hang in closets or tuck into drawers. Be sure to keep away from any curious pets!

Essential oils can be a very beneficial part of your hair, skin and overall health regimen as long as you use them properly and get them from reliable sources. They can also help freshen your home and laundry and even repel mosquitoes and other pests. Once you enter the world of essential oils, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them. 

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